Toronto on track to exceed 2020 emissions target, accelerated community-wide action needed to meet future targets

The City’s 2019 Inventory on community-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – which measures the emissions from energy use in buildings, transportation and waste – indicates that GHG emissions in Toronto were 38 per cent lower in 2019 than in 1990.

Key findings:

  • Community-wide GHG emissions were 15.6 million tonnes (MT) carbon dioxide equivalent (CO₂e) in 2019, which is 38 per cent lower than in 1990. Toronto is on track to exceed its 2020 target of a 30 per cent reduction in emissions.
  • Community-wide emissions decreased nearly four per cent compared to 2018, when Toronto emitted 16.2 MT CO₂e.
  • Toronto accounts for GHG emissions from: energy use in buildings (natural gas and electricity); transportation fuels (primarily gasoline); and waste sector emissions, which include emissions from landfills, organics and yard waste, and wastewater treatment processes.
  • Buildings – residential, commercial and industrial – were the largest source of emissions in Toronto, accounting for 57 per cent of total community-wide emissions. Natural gas used to heat buildings continues to be the largest source of emissions community-wide. It accounts for approximately 8.2 MT CO₂e, which represents the largest source of emissions from the buildings sector.
  • Transportation was the second-largest source, accounting for 36 per cent of total community-wide emissions. Passenger cars, trucks, vans, and buses accounted for approximately 73 per cent of all transportation emissions. Gasoline used by vehicles accounts for about 4.5 MT CO₂e, which represents the largest source of emissions within the transportation sector.
  • Waste was the third-largest source, accounting for about seven per cent of total community-wide emissions.
  • The City of Toronto’s corporate emissions, or local government emissions, decreased nearly four per cent compared to 2018 and continued to account for about five per cent of community-wide emissions.
  • Toronto must rapidly decrease its annual emissions to meet future targets. Toronto’s community-wide GHG emissions must be halved within 10 years to achieve the 2030 target of a 65 per cent reduction, based on 1990 levels. To reach net zero by 2050, all emissions must be eliminated.

 

Graph of Toronto's greenhouse gas emission in millions of tons, broken down by year and emission source, from 1990 to 2019.

 

  • 57 per cent of GHG emissions in Toronto come from homes and buildings, primarily from burning natural gas for heating
  • 36 per cent of GHG emissions in Toronto are generated by transportation, with the majority generated by personal vehicles
  • 7 per cent of GHG emissions in Toronto are generated by waste, mainly from landfill emissions

Reporting on community-wide greenhouse gas emissions annually is part of the City’s commitment to address climate change and inform the development of its climate strategy and policy. Read more about the 2019 GHG Inventory.

The City follows the Greenhouse Gas Protocol for community-scale GHG emission inventories.

 

Toronto’s “A List” Score on GHG Accounting and Action Reporting

As a Global Covenant of Mayors signatory, Toronto has been disclosing its GHG emissions inventory and its climate mitigation and adaptation actions annually to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) in order to share Toronto’s progress and benchmark against other cities facing similar challenges.

As we reported in the 2018 GHG Inventory Report, for the third year in a row, the City of Toronto is recognized on the 2020 Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Cities “A” List for its leadership and transparency on climate action. Toronto is one of 88 cities globally to receive an “A” rating. The CDP Cities “A” List for 2021 will be updated later this year.